"I think we all are responsible to keep this amazing scene alive"
Amsterdam-based label, party and DJ collective Rhythmic Culture Records have been exploring many sounds through their releases and parties in the city. It has become a hotbed of colorful electronics in the city. Founded it 2016, the label quickly gained a lot of traction, pushing some of the local artists into the limelight. With a truly impressive string of creative proposals, that doesn't seem to ever let up, we thought it would be great to speak with Brendan, capo of the label, to find out what motivates him.
How and why did you become involved Rhythmic Culture Records? What would you even call what you do?
I’ve started Rhythmic Culture Records back in 2016. At first, it was just me. I wanted to create an output for myself, as an artist, but also as a music lover, to share the music I loved without any compromises. I wanted to create this ‘safe space’ for myself where I had the complete freedom to do whatever I wanted to do. And back then, only the people that knew me were listening to the stuff I’ve posted.
Later that year, I started my internship at Amsterdam Dance Event. That’s where I met Kjell, Casper and Tim, who also started their internship there at that time. I found out the guys were also into kind of the same music I liked and they all wanted to do something in the electronic music business. So I asked them if they wanted to become part of Rhythmic Culture. And now we’re here, 3 years later.
However, the initial idea was to create a record label, Rhythmic Culture became more like a platform. Now we’re organizing events, running a podcast series, doing radio shows and we’re planning the first upcoming releases on the actual record label. So we’re doing a lot of different stuff.
What can you both tell us about the clubs, labels, releases that inspired your interests in dance music?
My first (serious) connection with electronic music was trance music. I think I was 10 years old or something. I had this CD with some music from DJ Tiësto, that I played a lot. Before that, I’ve heard these records from Daft Punk for example, but I wasn’t aware of electronic music back then. When I got a bit older, I think I was 14, I discovered House music and that eventually got me into DJ’ing and serious music digging when I was 19 years old.
A few years later, I moved to Utrecht and that’s when I really started clubbing in Utrecht and Amsterdam. It was like a whole new world opened to me, because where I came from there wasn’t a real music community or something. So at that time I discovered things like Dekmantel and De School, but I’ve also went to record stores like Rush Hour for the first time. Because of this, I really got into this more kind of ‘underground-ish’ music and I think this changed my whole musical perspective and brought me to where I am now.
What is the process when it comes to identifying artists and the labels output? What is your criteria for selecting artists?
I think it’s about this certain kind of connection, that I can’t really explain. When we have this connection with an artist, that makes us believe in them, that’s the moment when we decide to take things further. So there isn’t some kind of criteria, it’s just about the feeling.
What do you find most fulfilling about your work?
To be honest, being able to work with music every day. I’ve been working in the (electronic) music scene for some years now – not only as an artist or label boss, but I’ve also worked for some other organizations like ADE or Dekmantel. So being surrounded by music every day, in every way possible, and also giving other talented people a platform to develop themselves, that’s the most fulfilling thing about what I do.
What about your work as a dj? How would you define your sound? What are your direct influences?
I never had the ambition to become a DJ, really. It just happened because I liked to play and curate music. And nothing really changed. So for me it’s just about playing the music I love that brings me joy. And being able to share this experience with people on the dancefloor, that’s something special to me. I think it’s hard to define my sound, because it could be anything. I don’t like to stick to one genre, because I get bored very easily. So I tend to experiment a lot in between different sounds. And that’s probably a reason why I don’t get influenced by one or two people, because I try to get inspiration from everything that’s going on around me.
Can you shed some light on some of the artists you’re listening to at the moment? Any artist(s) you feel are more worthy of recognition?
I listen to a lot of different artists throughout the day, so it’s hard to only mention a few. But some artists I’m really into at the moment are DJ Plead, Sansibar, Karima F, CCL, Beesmunt Soundsystem and Max Abysmal.
What is your proudest achievement with this work and what is your greatest challenge?
I think that would be what we’ve accomplished in these three years of doing this – we didn’t had a plan when we started this. We just gone with the flow and did whatever felt right at that moment. So being able to share what we’re doing with a lot of talented people and people that are into music, that’s probably my proudest achievement. And I think the greatest challenge we have to face is the one right now: dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Do you think difficult times are approaching for the music industry?
Yeah, definitely. It hits everyone already. It breaks my heart to see all these talented people, the amazing labels and event organizations suffering from the situation we’re all into right now.
Do you think that the situation of the C19 will make us appreciate more the local music industry? Will everything be the same again?
Yeah, and we should. I think we all are responsible to keep this amazing scene alive – and a good local scene plays a big part in this. It’s hard to say things will get back like they used to be, but I do believe our scene will survive this and things will get better.
What can you tell us about the city where you work?
We’re operating in a few different cities throughout the Netherlands, but Amsterdam is kind of our home base. Amsterdam has a really supportive scene, with a lot of opportunities. But a lot of great venues will close its doors in the next few years, so I’m a bit curious how the scene will develop – although I’m sure new things will arise, because the city is full of creative people.
Does it help to create this type of musical proposal?
It does, everyone plays a role in creating this music community I believe – so do we.
Rhythmic Culture Records